Comic Mike Burns tweets as Michigan divorcee Karl Welzein using the @DadBoner account. (Kimberly Millard) Comic Mike Burns tweets as Michigan divorcee Karl Welzein using the @DadBoner account. (Kimberly Millard)

Karl Welzein is a Michigan divorcee who loves drinking cold ones, eating at Applebee’s and living for the weekend. For the past three years, the middle-aged, middle-American manly man has chronicled his boozy exploits on his Twitter feed, @DadBoner, for 150,000 followers.

This is probably where we should mention that Welzein isn’t real.

“I love the guy like a person that actually exists,” says Mike Burns, the comedian behind Welzein (as Deadspin revealed in 2012).

The Los Angeles-based performer, 38, has since turned Welzein’s early tweets into prose with a book, “Power Moves: Livin’ the American Dream, USA Style,” and a live tour, @DadBoner and Friends, You Guys, which stops in D.C. on Thursday.

The shows are more than just a straight recitation of Welzein’s tweets. Instead, Burns and a stable of comedians read from the book, riff and tell jokes. In Washington, Burns is bringing along veteran comic Matt Braunger (“Up All Night”) and new “Saturday Night Live” cast member Brooks Wheelan.

During the shows, Burns presents things Welzein might post on Craigslist, Penthouse Forum letters he might pen and dishes he’d add to Guy Fieri’s menus. You know, dad stuff.

“I like the book and Karl to be the star of the show as opposed to me,” says Burns, who’s been working in comedy since 2000.

The Saginaw, Mich., native — who is divorced with no children — says he created the account because the idea cracked him up.

@DadBoner’s first tweet came on April 14, 2010: “Really lookin’ forward to the weekend you guys.” (There’s no explanation for the @DadBoner handle — do with that what you will.)


“He is an amalgamation of people that I knew, mixed with what my greatest fear in life would be,” Burns says. “And that would be to turn out like him.”

No one wants to become an irresponsible, alcoholic divorcee who avoids his kids, but Welzein’s not such a bad guy to chug a few beers with. He’s living a blissfully ignorant version of the rock star lifestyle.

“I like people like that,” Burns says. “I envy them. They found some sort of happiness.”


Much of @DadBoner’s comedy comes from long, multi-tweet arcs. But Karl Welzein lobs one-liners, too. Here are some examples:

— “Wearin’ boots with jean shorts says, ‘I like to keep cool, but I’m ready if the action gets hot.’ ”

— “My workout routine: 1. Look at a pic of Stone Cold Steve Austin. 2. Do ‘shups ‘til you look like the Rattlesnake. 3. Cut off your sleeves.”

— “Told work I gotta split for a business appointment. ‘Cause drinkin’ cold ones is my business, and business is good, you guys.”

Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW; Thu., 8 p.m., $15; 202-667-7960. (U Street)